Orbiting around The Shires with Arriva’s Orbit Ticket

Orbiting around The Shires with Arriva’s Orbit Ticket
Arriva uses 8 Wrightbus Streetlite WF electric buses on the 7 between Milton Keynes and Bletchley.Macauley Pugh

On Saturday 23rd March 2019 we decided to try out the Arriva Beds & Bucks Orbit ticket. Our journey took us to Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Reading and Oxford.

Priced at £6.50 per adult, £5.20 student and £4.20 child, the Arriva Orbit ticket offers travel throughout a generous operating area including Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard, Luton and Dunstable, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Oxford and all Arriva bus services in between. The ticket also allows conveyance on the Arriva Sapphire 321 service through to Watford, service 37 through to Maidenhead, services 800/850 through to Reading and the 500 service through to Watford.

Interestingly, as we were writing this article, the boundaries of the ticket have changed, so we have made sure we’ve incorporated these changes. As part of Arriva’s regional streamlining of ticketing and to simplify ticket zones for passengers, Arriva’s 10 current zones will be reduced to eight, making it easier for passengers to know which tickets are required to complete their journey. This means the Arriva Orbit ticket has superseded the West Herts zone, meaning passengers travelling between St Albans, Hemel and Watford will use the Orbit ticket as a substitute.

Journey Outline

X60Milton Keynes to Aylesbury via Buckingham
X30Aylesbury to High Wycombe via Princes Risborough 
800High Wycombe to Reading via Henley-on-Thames
CrossCountryReading to Oxford
280Oxford to Aylesbury via Haddenham
X60Aylesbury to Milton Keynes via Buckingham

The evening of travel from the North West to Milton Keynes took it out of us after checking into the hotel at 11pm on Friday evening, we decided to have a leisurely start to the day on Saturday morning. Starting at The Point shopping precinct, we had a quick stop for breakfast before deciding to purchase the Arriva Orbit ticket and start our first journey.

The MKube is open from 09.00 to 17.30, Monday to Saturday. Tom Harrison

The first journey of the day was the X60 service to Aylesbury. This was operated by a former Arriva London Volvo B7TL with Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini bodywork from 2001. The X60 service was a pleasant interurban route with plenty of rural A roads, plus the shortstop in the pleasant town of Buckingham was equally delightful.

The top deck of the former Arriva London Volvo B7TL. Tom Harrison

Arriving at Aylesbury bus station, which is located adjacent to the Friars Square shopping centre, we had a short connection on to the X30 service to High Wycombe. The X30 service from Aylesbury to High Wycombe was operated by another Volvo B7TL with Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini bodywork from 2001, offering lovely top deck views along another fast-paced interurban route.

It was time for a spot of late lunch by the time we arrived at High Wycombe, so we took a walk through the town centre where we found a recruitment drive by Arriva with one of their MCV Evolution bodied MAN 12.220s in the shopping precinct. The vehicle is pictured and was new to Excel, Stansted Airport as their 61 in October 2006.

Outshopped in Arriva’s training livery is this MAN 220.20 in High Wycombe. Tom Harrison

Lunch over with, we decided to take the 800 service to Reading. This was operated by a 2012 Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530 which has recently been repainted into Arriva’s all over turquoise livery. This was a fantastic rural route, serving many villages on its winding route through Shiplake, Binfield Heath, Dunsden Green and Caversham. Just under one hour and ten minutes later we arrived at Reading, terminating on Friar Street ust by the railway station.

As Reading wasn’t the main focus on this visit, our stay here was brief, also as time was pressing on, we decided to catch a CrossCountry train to Oxford from Reading. With a 16-25 Railcard, this was priced at a reasonable £3.15 single and the journey took just 23 minutes. This journey was provided by one of CrossCountry’s Class 220 Voyager trains.

A Sapphire branded Alexander Dennis Enviro400 at Oxford Station. Tom Harrison

Arriving at Oxford railway station, we decided to take the Arriva Sapphire 280 service back to Aylesbury. A 2015 Sapphire branded Alexander Dennis Enviro400 was allocated to this service. We wanted to go all the way through to Aylesbury however the bus was displaying Haddenham on the destination display, despite it continuing on to Aylesbury. Slightly confusing for non-local passengers like ourselves. With this, we decided to get off at Haddenham and Thame Parkway as there was a scheduled 280 just 10 minutes behind going to the same destination. Again, another rural route traversing many an A road, winding through the countryside and through several villages.

We arrived into Aylesbury at quarter past six with the intention of the possibility of going towards Luton, however, upon further research, we decided to head back to Milton Keynes as time was getting on and many of the services were ending for the day. The last bus of the day we took from Aylesbury was the X60, this was operated with another 2012 Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530. In terms of the quality versus the Volvo B7TL on the outbound trip, we preferred the ride of the Volvo B7TL although the loading of the X60 at this time of the day was relatively light.

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